None of the more than 80 nurses and midwives due to graduate shortly in Limerick has been offered a work contract by the HSE at a time when there are 100 vacancies across the University of Limerick hospital group.
Although 55 graduate nurses have been interviewed for jobs at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), where the number of patients on trolleys reached 76 yesterday, none has yet received an offer of work, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
Similarly none of the 28 midwife graduates who interviewed at University Maternity Hospital Limerick has been given a contract.
A spokesperson confirmed yesterday that there are currently 61.92 whole time equivalent (WTE) vacancies and 32.56 WTE temporary vacancies in nursing and midwifery grades across the UL Hospital Group.
The spokesperson also said average weekday presentations to the emergency department (ED) had surpassed 220 last week, while the average in 2018 was 197.
Moreover the hospital was facing challenges accessing transitional care and home care package funding, “which has contributed to a rise in delayed discharges untypical in the Mid-West”.
The squeeze on funding follows instructions from the new HSE chief Paul Reid for hospitals to live within budget. Health Minister Simon Harris yesterday paid a surprise visit to UHL to see for himself the extent of the overcrowding crisis.
A spokesperson for the minister said he had been in contact with the HSE on the issue of failure to issue contracts “and have been assured the organisation is finalising plans, which will include provision for the retention of graduate nurses”.
“It remains the minister’s position that he wants to see every graduate nurse offered a job in the Irish health service.”